The better you sleep, the healthier you will be. Sleep Matters! For a healthy, happy, and whole life without disease, you must place a high value on SLEEP.
Did you know that we have been observing the effects of daylight saving time on the body for years? Every spring, when we lose just one hour of sleep, there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the very next day. The opposite occurs in the Fall when we gain one hour with a 21% reduction in heart attacks. Could our system be this sensitive to sleep? Absolutely yes!
Our body's immune system has a 007 stranger danger defense mechanism, which identifies and eliminates unwanted elements. They're called the Natural Killer Cells and keep us safe from diseases like cancer. Studies have shown that having only four hours of sleep for one night will decrease this defensive system by 70%!
Imagine the damage to the immune system after a lack of, impaired, or inadequate sleep. This link is so indisputable that The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen. You read me correctly.
Research has shown that sleep before learning prepares the brain for intake and a quick nap after new information hits the save button on our memory in the hippocampus. Our brains need sleep to make new memories. Short naps are great when studying for multiple exams.
Studies show that if a man only has five hours of sleep a night, he has the testosterone levels of a man ten years his senior. Women will also have a decrease in estrogen.
Research also shows that after only one week of short sleep, your blood sugar levels could be classified as pre-diabetic.
We need to value every hour of sleep and make it a priority for wellness in our bodies.
There is no part of our bodies that isn’t effected by sleep.
What can we do?
1. Most importantly, regularity is the king of good sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time. Regularity will anchor your sleep and improve quality and quantity.
2. Sleep cool with circulating air to match the 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit drop the body needs to get to sleep and stay asleep. Sleeping in a hot room increases breathing rate, snoring, and sleep apnea.
3. 8 hours matter; 6 hours is not enough. Yes, this hurts me, also.
4. We are a diurnal species, not a nocturnal species. We are mainly active during the day and sleep at night. Wear a sleep mask to simulate night.
5. Know your chronotype. Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing this allows you to maximize your best waking hours. Find out by taking the MEQ (Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire) at QXMD.com.
"Sleep is not an optional lifestyle luxury; it's a non-negotiable biological necessity. It is our life support system. Short sleep will make for a short life", Matthew Walker, Ph.D.
Find additional resources at Sleep2Wellness.com